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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Red Crossbill

Loxia curvirostra ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: FRINGILLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A stocky finch of mature coniferous forests, the Red Crossbill is dependent on the seed cones that are its main food. Its peculiar bill allows it access to the seeds, and it will breed whenever it finds areas with an abundance of cones. It may wander widely between years to find a good cone crop.

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Appearance

Finches
Finches
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Stocky red or greenish finch.
  • Plain blackish wings.
  • Short, notched tail.
  • Thick, curved bill with crossed tips.

Male Description

Head and body deep brick red to reddish yellow, or greenish. Wing feathers blackish brown, without wingbars. Tail blackish brown.

Female Description

Uniformly olive or grayish, with greenish or greenish yellow chest and rump. Wing feathers blackish brown, without wingbars. Tail blackish brown.

Immature Description

Juvenile with heavy dark streaks on whitish chest. Back gray-brown tinged with pale green or brown. Rump yellowish with dark streaks. Thin buffy wingbars. Immature like adult female, but some males may be reddish or mixed red and yellow.

Range Map Help

Red Crossbill Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

Similar Species

  • White-winged Crossbill has black wings and bold white wingbars in all plumages; male is more pinkish red.
  • Juvenile resembles Pine Siskin, but it has straight, thinner bill and yellow in the wings.

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    An Enigma, Wrapped in a Riddle, Inside a Pine Cone: What are Red Crossbills, anyway? Story in Living Bird magazine.